Every five weeks like clockwork, i know i have to make an appointment at my hair salon –stat† This is because, also like clockwork, my very dark brown hair is starting to transform into a semi-dark, semi-gray situation, with white locks dripping from my roots… which is just not the look I’m going for.
It would make my life a lot easier, not to mention cheaper, if I just joined the ever-growing trend of younger women embracing their gray color. But having dark hair feels like it’s part of my identity. Unlike the buildup of fine lines and a loss of collagen — both relatively invisible changes to your skin that happen as you age — gray hair appears with a presence. It’s visible to others (if you get a good chunk of it), and on brunettes, they’re a stark contrast to the rest of your head of hair. So it’s a more dramatic aspect of aging that, as a 31-year-old, I’m not ready to embrace yet.
“The hashtag #greyhair has over 1.5 million posts on Instagram and the latest hashtag that seems to be taking off is #grombre, a handle for mature women who want to show off their natural gray roots,” says Sanam Hafeez, MD , a New York City-based neuropsychologist and adjunct professor at Columbia University. She is right. The grey-positive movement has sparked a crusade of younger women flaunting their incoming white/grey/silver totems of their time on Earth and the natural processes that go with it. It certainly gives strength and I am all about the.
Unlike the buildup of fine lines and a loss of collagen — both relatively invisible changes to your skin that happen as you age — gray hair appears with a presence.
“With the gray-positive movement that’s taking place, things are changing,” says Dr. hafeez. “For many women, it’s now a huge sigh of relief that they don’t have to cover up their gray, almost as if they don’t have to wear a bra.” You could also relate it to Big Bush Energy – aka embracing pubic hair – and acne positivity, not shaving above the knee (if at all), and growing armpit hair, all modern phenomena destroying the old. patriarchal school norms printed on women in the days of yore.
But your hair is your prerogative, and mine continues to dye my roots every month so that my locks remain (relatively) the same color as they have been since I was born. “For the women affected when their gray roots start to appear, a trip to the salon to banish those grays is usually an uplifting experience,” says Dr. hafeez. “I’m sure that woman walks out of the parlor standing a little longer than she did when she came in and feeling better when she went out.” She’s right – I walk out more proud and feel more like myself with a fresh white hair-free paint job.
“It’s all in the individual woman’s perception of beauty and the way the closest people in her life perceive beauty.”
dr. Hafeez attributes it to how you were raised and how you see beauty for yourself. “It’s all in the individual woman’s perception of beauty and the way the closest people in her life perceive beauty, and the emphasis they place on youth,” she emphasizes. I grew up with a mom who also went gray at a young age and chose to color them—and still do. Now my younger sister is also on the train.
I know I don’t have to justify my choice, but I will say that I haven’t done another beauty treatment that turns back time. Gray hair is my personal exception to the whole “embrace aging” thing. One day, of course, I’m imagining myself rocking some Cruella de Vil-esque half-and-half kind of vibes, with silver stripes running down my back down my brown hair like I’m a cool aunt or a retired art teacher or whatever.
The point I’m trying to make is that how you choose to present yourself is just that: your choice. “No woman should be ashamed of choosing to be gray, and conversely, women should not be viewed as superficial if they decide to color their hair,” says Dr. hafeez. Personally, I wear dark brown hair for my own head. For now.
Oh, and here’s how to protect that color-treated hair in the summer if you dye yours too. And this is how to deal with hair color fading.